Good News 2011
Google donates $11.5m to fight modern slavery around the world

Google donates $11.5m to fight modern slavery around the world

Tech giant Google announced it is donating $11.5million to several coalitions fighting to end the modern-day slavery of some 27million people around the world.

In what is believed to be the largest-ever corporate grant devoted to the advocacy, intervention and rescue of people being held, forced to work or provide sex against their will, Google said it chose organizations with proven records in combating slavery.

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December, 2011

Shark fin soup off the menu

Shark fin soup off the menu: China's crackdown on extravagant banquets gives sharks a second chance

A crackdown on extravagance and corruption within China's ruling Communist Party is causing headaches for officials used to splashing the cash on banquets, but it's proving a lifesaver for sharks.

Consumption of shark fin, the key ingredient in the pricey and extravagant banquet staple shark-fin soup, has dropped by 70 per cent since the end of last year, according to Ministry of Commerce data.

The party leadership launched a campaign in December, vowing to target extravagance and waste, and demanding austerity from cadres and military officials as a means of curbing graft.

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November, 2011

Introducing Lady McCartney

Introducing Lady McCartney! Nancy and Sir Paul in official portrait taken by Macca's eldest daughter Mary

A delighted Sir Paul McCartney and his new wife Nancy are pictured after their wedding in a kooky official portrait taken by Sir Paul's daughter Mary.

Sir Paul and the new Lady McCartney had emerged beaming after the ceremony at Marylebone Register Office.

The newlyweds were greeted on the steps of the building by friends and family who covered them in rose petals.

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October, 2011

Make Wind Power Cheaper Than Nuclear

Japanese Claim Breakthrough That Will Make Wind Power Cheaper Than Nuclear

The only reason wind power can compete with other sources like nuclear is because of government subsidies. It now appears that things might change a bit with the Japanese claiming a new innovation in turbine design technology. Named "wind lens" the technology promises to triple the output from traditional wind turbines and make the energy generated cheaper than nuclear.

From what we see, the turbines look curiously like ferris wheels, but as far as pragmatism is concerned, we don't care even if it looks like a lollipop as long as it gets the job done. To be practical however, the problems with wind energy cannot simply go away.

Of course, efficient designs help a lot but wind can be a real practical source only when something like "Smart Grids" are in action, or in other words, when we have the capability to store excess generated electricity and feed it back to the grid when the need arises. Till that happens, the erratic nature of wind generation will continue to be its biggest problem.


September, 2011

Microbes looking for a meal

Want to clean up an oil spill? there are some microbes looking for a meal


After the initial shock of last year's Gulf oil disaster passed, it quickly became apparent that the oil had somehow disappeared on the surface, at least. Dispersants helped break up some of the larger plumes, sure, but that doesn't entirely explain why the surface oil slick in the Gulf seemed to disappear just three weeks after the disaster. Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute think they have the answer: hungry bacterial microbes.

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August, 2011

Yingluck Shinawatra

Yingluck Shinawatra set to be Thailand's first female premier

Bangkok (CNN) -- Yingluck Shinawatra was poised to become Thailand's first female prime minister Sunday after her party won a majority of parliamentary seats in the nation's general elections.

The official tally had not yet been completed, but with more than 90 percent of votes counted Sunday night, Yingluck's Pheu Thai party had won 262 seats in the country's 500-seat parliament.

"The first thing I want to do is help people on their economic situation," she said earlier Sunday, refusing to declare victory until the official count was over.

Minutes before, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded that she had won.

Yingluck is the younger sister of one of Thailand's most polarizing political figures, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.

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July, 2011

The World's most polluted cities can recover The World's most polluted cities can recover

The World's most polluted cities can recover, just like London did

Renowned for centuries for its infamous smog and severe pollution, London today has the cleanest air that it has had since the Middle Ages.

In virtually every developed country, the air is more breathable and the water is more drinkable than they were 40 years ago. Shanghai (right): Some of the most polluted places are the megacities of the developing world, such as Shanghai, New Delhi, and Mexico City.

In the 1930s and 1940s, however, London was more polluted than any of these cities are today.

Exaggerating the bad news about the environment could ultimately prevent us from finding smarter ways to actually help our planet and ensure the health of the environment for future generations.

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June, 2011

Egyptian pyramids

Egyptian pyramids found by infra-red satellite images

Seventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.

The work has been pioneered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham by US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak.

She says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.

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May, 2011

New Boeing Factory

New Boeing Factory 100% Powered by Renewable Energy

Boeing recently announced that their new 787 jet assembly plant in South Carolina will be completely powered by renewable energy.

The new facility will have a roof covered with solar panels that will provide most of the energy they need for operations, and they will supplement this energy source with renewable energy certificates bought from SCE&G.

The solar array will be made up of 18,000 solar panels, will produce 2.6 megawatts of power, and will cover a whopping 10 acres of rooftop.

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April, 2011

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II with President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins

Queen to make first state visit to Irish Republic

The Queen is to pay a state visit to the Irish Republic this year, the first by a British monarch since independence, it has been announced.

The Queen accepted an invitation from the Republic's President Mary McAleese, although no date has been released.

King George V was the last reigning monarch to visit the country in 1911 when it was then part of the UK.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said the visit was an indication of a changed time but was "premature".

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March, 2011

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down

Mubarak Finally Steps Down as President of Egypt

February 11, 2011

Cairo, Egypt (CNN) -- Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Friday and handed over power to the military -- three decades of his iron-clad rule ended by an 18-day revolution.

In a somber one-minute announcement on state television, Vice President Omar Suleiman said Mubarak had resigned and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces will "run the affairs of the country."

Tens of thousands of emotional Egyptians exploded in deafening cheers on the streets of Cairo, electric with excitement. It was a moment they had anticipated throughout long days of relentless demonstrations -- sometimes violent -- that demanded Mubarak's departure.

It was also a moment that many had thought unimaginable in the Arab world's powerhouse nation.

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February, 2011

Google Art Project

Google Art Project aims to shed new light on classic works of art

14 December 2011 - Collaboration with 17 museums allows users to take virtual tour of galleries and view paintings online in high resolution.

Even the director of the Tate was unaware that if, with patience, you look really close up at Pieter Bruegel's world-famous 16th century painting The Harvesters, which hangs in the Metropolitan Museum, then you will see a family enjoying a jolly game of throwing sticks at the tied-up goose, a pastime more usually associated with Shrove Tuesday

"I didn't know about this rather cruel game, no," said Sir Nicholas Serota. "Next time I'm in New York I shall take a closer look."

Dobson, Frank (RA) - The Balloon Apron - Google Art Project

Serota was speaking at the launch today of a significant new art project by Google. The reason we can now examine Bruegel's painting in such astonishing detail - every tiny scene, every brushstroke, every hairline crack can be seen - is because it has been captured using super-high resolution, or gigapixel photo-capturing technology.

The project, unveiled at Tate Britain in London is an extension of Google Street View in which real views of streets from across the world are captured and displayed on screen.

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January, 2011

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A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. ALBERT EINSTEIN